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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-15-2018

Washington Times, August 15, 1918:

Hal Chase, crack first baseman of the Cincinnati Reds, suspended on charges of frequenting poolrooms and making bets, denied he had made any wagers on ball games.
[Chase:] “Perhaps it is hardly best for me to agitate the affair, or to talk too freely right now, but I can’t help saying a few things just the same…Let’s not dodge around the bush or mince words. I’m accused of frequenting poolrooms and making baseball bets. I’ve gone into poolrooms, yes; I’ve made bets on horses, yes. I say, right here, that I have made no baseball bets, and have never thrown the team down as a result…I was accused in New York, not of betting against the Reds, but of offering a certain Giant pitcher $800 to let us beat him. Can you imagine where I’d have got a taker for an $800 bet against the Giants in New York?”

Maybe not, but I can imagine that telegrams to other cities exist. And I can imagine that mob bookies exist. And I can imagine that New York mob bookies would be able to find 40 people to bet $20 each on the Giants.

But you do you, Hal.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 15, 2018 at 10:06 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-14-2018

Toledo News-Bee, August 14, 1918:

Dazzy Vance, up for the steenth time, proved a hopeless case and Manager Miller Huggins of the Yankees has shipped him to Rochester in the International.

At this point, Vance was 27 years old and had allowed 22 runs and 23 walks in 33 big league innings. He didn’t make it back to the majors until 1922. If Dazzy didn’t have the least likely Hall of Fame career of all time, he’s gotta be close.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 14, 2018 at 09:59 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, August 13, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-13-2018

Toledo News-Bee, August 13, 1918:

[Reds owner] August Herrmann and Hal Chase held a conference today and the great first baseman was duly warned as to the nature of the charges against him. The charges resulted in his recent suspension.

“I wish to tell you, Mr. Chase,” said Mr. Herrmann, “that charges have been brought against you affecting your integrity as a ball player. These charges shall be submitted to the National League for due consideration and till the league has acted your suspension will have to stand. I sincerely trust that all charges will prove baseless and unfounded, both for your sake and the honor of the game.”
“Very well, Mr. Herrmann,” the ball player answered, “I’ll be glad to read [the charges] and am confident that I can disprove them.”

I’m…less confident that Chase can disprove the charges.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 13, 2018 at 11:04 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, August 10, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-10-2018

New York Sun, August 10, 1918:


The last chapter in the career of John Kinley Tener as a baseball executive was written yesterday when a group of local club owners, acting as a committee for the National League, formally accepted the former Pennsylvania Governor’s resignation as president of the league.
[The letter of acceptance reads, in part,] “In taking this action we feel that we have sustained a heavy loss, and in accepting your resignation we wish to assure you of our highest esteem and give you our very best wishes in your new field of endeavor.”
The committee also announced that the league’s affairs will be conducted by Secretary John A. Heydler until the annual meeting of the league in December.

Yeesh, guys, Tener wasn’t the skinniest guy in the world, but you didn’t have to call it a “heavy” loss.

Anyway, this was Heydler’s second stint as acting NL President, having also taken over after Harry Pulliam’s unexpected death in 1909. This time Heydler kept the job until his retirement in 1934.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 10, 2018 at 10:23 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-9-2018

Celina (Ohio) Democrat, August 9, 1918:

Perhaps before the present season ends all records in the major league for lengthy games will be broken. Already there have been two 19-inning draws.

The law which saves an hour of daylight is mainly responsible, for it permits a game to go along until decided. The Phils and Cardinals started their 19-inning game at 3:30 o’clock and played until eight o’clock.
As it is the four hours and thirty minutes of desperate play went for naught.

A baseball game that lasted more than four hours?! Inconceivable!

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 09, 2018 at 10:44 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-8-2018

Pittsburgh Press, August 8, 1918:

Harold (Hal) Chase, captain and first baseman of the Cincinnati club, has been indefinitely suspended because of indifferent playing, it was announced last night by Manager Mathewson. Chase was under a similar charge in 1913 while playing on the New York Americans and was traded by Manager Frank Chance to the Chicago Americans.

Air quotes weren’t a thing yet in 1918, so I guess peering between the lines was left to the readers. Hal Chase wasn’t indifferent at all, from what I can tell. Sometimes he tried as hard as he could to win, sometimes he tried as hard as he could to lose.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 08, 2018 at 09:47 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-7-2018

New York Tribune, August 7, 1918:

The resignation of John K. Tener as president of the National Baseball League was received here yesterday at National League headquarters.

In a letter, addressed to all the club presidents in the National League, President Tener said:

“Having declined to serve further on the National Commission for the good reason familiar to each of you, I must ask that my resignation as your president, tendered last December, be now accepted.”

The “good reason” was that Tener was furious the Athletics asked for and received a court injunction overturning the National Commission’s decision to award pitcher Scott Perry to the Braves. Tener’s position had been tenuous for quite a while, and it became completely unworkable to have an NL president refusing to deal with the Commission while the two leagues were trying to slap together a rushed plan for a rescheduled World Series.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 07, 2018 at 09:48 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, August 06, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-6-2018

Washington Herald, August 6, 1918:

If you can find a bunch more essential than the following, step aside and cry quits. Kindly note the batting order:

Coffey, Tigers, shortstop.
Wheat, Dodgers, left field.
Lamb, Joplin, second base.
Weafers, Syracuse, first base.
Rice, ex-Washington, right field.
Haddock, Binghamton, catcher.
Mays, Cards, center field.
Bacon, ex-Athletics, third base.
Hogg, Phils, pitcher.

Crum of the Bostons would make a fairly good substitute if the supply ran out. A number of essential workers can be dug up, including Miller, Dodgers; Butcher, Indianapolis; Fisher, Cards; Barber, Cubs, and Baker, Yankees.

And as for vital aids what could be more to be desired than Wood, Indians; Steel, Pirates, and Meadows, Cards?

Farmer Steelman was born a couple decades too early.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 06, 2018 at 09:42 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, August 03, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-3-2018

Chicago Eagle, August 3, 1918:

A funny thing happened in a Cleveland-Detroit game some time back. Roth of the Indians made for third on a ball hit by Wamby and slid into the bag. The ball was thrown to Vitt, as Umpire Brick Owens ran over to cover the play. Vitt got the ball, saw the umpire running, got excited, and tagged him so hard with the ball that he sent Owens sprawling, while Roth landed safe.

This is a terrific story, but would be even better if Roth had called the umpire out on the tag.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 03, 2018 at 10:05 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-2-2018

Pittsburgh Press, August 2, 1918:

Larry Doyle has discovered that he was born on July 31, 1885, instead of a year later, and consequently is not in the army draft. He says he was 33 years old Wednesday. Doyle has obtained an affidavit from the priest who christened him at the time of his birth in Caseyville, Ill., and the document will be filed immediately with his local board.

I’m not going to say Doyle was lying, and I’d understand his motivation if this were a lie. But in 1913, he applied for a passport listing his birthdate as 1886. This would have been an extremely convenient time to find out that birthdate was wrong.

Weirdly, the 1930 census lists Doyle as being 41 years old, so I have no idea what to make of any of this.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 02, 2018 at 10:11 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, shenanigans

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-1-2018

Washington Times, August 1, 1918:

Baseball is due to hit the rocks Saturday [August 3]. Whether it will survive is not known. The great American public seems to care little either way.

[National League] President Tener has called a meeting of his magnates to be held in New York Saturday morning at 11 o’clock. Chairman Herrmann has called a meeting of the national commission at Cleveland Saturday morning at 10 o’clock. President Johnson has called a meeting of the American Leaguers at Cleveland Saturday.

I don’t know specifically what happens, but knowing that Tener’s about done as the NL President, I assume his meeting is going to consist of him sitting alone at a big conference table wondering where everyone is.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 01, 2018 at 09:53 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-31-2018

Pittsburgh Press, July 31, 1918:

The Homestead Grays are ready for the big series which opens at Forbes Field tomorrow at 5:45 o’clock with the famous A.B.C. colored team of Indianapolis.
In the series starting tomorrow there is one A.B.C. player who will have to be watched closely by the Gray’s pitcher [sic]. He is Middle Fielder Charleston, who clouted the ball for eight hits and scored five runs in the three games with the Chicago Giants.
The Gray management has not decided who is to pitch the opening game, but as Sellars Hall appears to be offering a splendid assortment of benders he is apt to take the mound. “String Bean” Williams or Dismukes will probably do the flinging for the visitors.

There are any number of things I’d like to use a time machine to see, but a young and dominant Oscar Charleston is high on the list.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 31, 2018 at 10:11 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, July 30, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-30-2018

Pittsburgh Press, July 30, 1918:

After arriving at his summer home, whither he went before the war secretary had announced his final decision with regard to the future of baseball, President John K. Tener, of the National league, announced that he did not believe any world’s series would be played.

At the same time, the magnates were already beginning to plan for the annual classic, and there is at present every reason to believe that the series will go through.

It begins to look as if the magnates have quit taking Tener into their confidences. It has long been known that many of them were out of harmony with him, and it may be they have decided to ignore him completely henceforth.

The fact that Barney Dreyfuss, the Pittsburg [sic] magnate, was asked to serve as a National league committee of one to confer with the American league about the world’s series would seem to strengthen this belief. Ordinarily, this task would be assigned to the president of the league.

Tener’s stint as NL President was indeed living on borrowed time by the end of July 1918.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 30, 2018 at 09:48 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, July 27, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-27-2018

Bridgeport Times, July 27, 1918:

Secretary Baker yesterday granted baseball an extension of time, making Sept. 1 the date upon which the so-called work or fight order will apply to players of the big leagues…Mr. Baker’s decision grants the petition which representatives of the American and National Leagues filed with Provost Marshal General Crowder, excepting that the request for an extension until Oct. 15 is responded to by granting time until Sept. 1 only.

It was still unclear at this point whether the World Series would happen. AL President Ban Johnson says the series will take place immediately after the season, but NL President John Tener says he doesn’t think there would be much demand for a World Series. That seems like a weird position for Tener to take, but maybe he didn’t want to appear eager to prevent ballplayers from serving the country.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago, the Toledo News-Bee reports that it’s not clear how the Red Sox should use Babe Ruth. Are they better off with him as a position player or as a pitcher? To that, I say “Why don’t we have both?”.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 27, 2018 at 10:05 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-26-2018

Washington Times, July 26, 1918:

A Detroit woman recently sued her husband for divorce because he so far forgot himself in his joy at seeing Ty Cobb crack out a hit that he slammed her in the jaw and sent her out for the complete count.
Hubby jumped around with joy-frenzied jumps and began to swing his arms. The fist at the end of one arm somehow or other landed flush upon wifie’s chin. Wifie crumpled and then flopped for the count.

I’m not going to joke about this - I don’t know what happened and domestic violence isn’t funny. I can’t imagine this is the real and complete story, and in the hundreds of sporting events I’ve been to, I’ve never seen anyone knocked cold by a celebrating neighbor. I chose this story mostly because the flippant tone the writer took is so startling. Goodness.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 26, 2018 at 10:06 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-24-2018

Former Cubs owner Charles Murphy, quoted in the Washington Herald, July 24, 1918:

“...when Shettsline, now secretary of the [Phillies], was manager of the team, an important stage came where runs were badly needed. Philly got runners on first and second before anybody was out. It was then Delahanty’s turn at bat.

“Shettsline called Ed to one side and said: ‘You lay down a sacrifice bunt now, and I’ll have the next fellow try to hit one out and score both men.’ Delahanty nodded. ‘All right,” he answered.

“Shettsline was surprised when Delahanty laid on the first ball pitched and slammed it out for a home run. As he rounded third Shettsline called out, ‘How is it you didn’t bunt?’

“‘Oh, I never bunt,’ laughed Del. ‘I don’t even know how.’”

I have no way to know if any party of this story is true, but Delahanty bunted 14 times in 1900 and 10 times in 1901. He pretty clearly knew how to lay one down, even though it might not have been the best idea to have one of the two or three best hitters in the universe (circa 1899-1902) bunt.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago, the National Commission has appealed Secretary of War Newton Baker’s ruling that baseball is not essential work. A ruling is expected imminently.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 24, 2018 at 09:50 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, July 23, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-23-2018

Washington Herald, July 23, 1918:

The pennant in the American Association was awarded to the Kansas City club at the close of [yesterday’s] game, which marked the end of the 1918 season, by John J. Hickey, president of the league.

Elsewhere on the same page:

The American Association and the Eastern and Virginia leagues shut up shop after yesterday, and thus the New International is now the only remaining so-called minor league in action. Hand it to the circuit for being game.

The minor league season was essentially over at this point, and discussions had begun as to what was going to happen with the big league season.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 23, 2018 at 10:10 AM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, July 20, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-20-2018

Bridgeport Times, July 20, 1918:

Baseball is a non-productive and non-essential industry. Ball players of draft age are hit by the “work or fight” order; they must shift into essential industries or lose such deferred classifications in the draft as they have received through dependencies and other reasons.

Such was the decision of Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, yesterday, in the appeal of Edward Ainsmith, catcher of the Washington team of the American league.
The Secretary of War says: “Obviously, baseball players are persons occupied in a sport, so that the ruling of the local and district boards [to force them to fight or work in a war-oriented occupation] must be sustained as plainly correct.”

Not having players is a bit of a problem. According to a report elsewhere on that page of the Times, the sixteen major league clubs would lose 260 of their 318 players. That’s ~82% of major league ballplayers rendered unavailable.

Yeah, they might want to look into ending the season early.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 20, 2018 at 10:56 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-19-2018

Toledo News-Bee, July 19, 1918:

Baseball on a wholesale scale has been presented to followers of the Chicago Cubs the last three days. In this short time 55 innings were played by the National League leaders. They staged a double header of nine rounds on Tuesday, put over the 21-inning game on Wednesday, and battled 16 periods on Thursday. This is a major league record.

That’s more than 18 innings per day. Great for the fans, less so for the players.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 19, 2018 at 09:59 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-18-2018

Bridgeport Times, July 18, 1918:

The 1918 season’s record for long games was established [in Chicago] yesterday afternoon when the Cubs defeated the Phillies, 2 to 1, in a thrilling contest that ran twenty-one innings before George Tyler, the famous Chicago southpaw, won the verdict over “Mule” Watson, the Phillies’ comparatively unknown righthander.

Both Tyler and Watson threw complete games. Watson’s career through July 17, 1918: 339.1 IP, 3.10 ERA. Watson’s career after throwing 20 innings in a day: 84.2 IP, 5.42 ERA. Tyler was terrific for the rest of 1918 but his pitching shoulder broke down in Spring Training 1919.

Tyler’s game score from this game, 126, is the fifth-highest since 1908.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 18, 2018 at 10:02 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-17-2018

Washington Times, July 17, 1918:

Barney Dreyfuss, president of the Pirates, is against [National League] President Tener’s stand in the Scott Perry case.

“There will be no baseball war over the Perry case,” said Barney today. “For one, I shall not support Tener’s position. The only thing to do is to reorganize the National Commission, something that has been necessary for years.”

And so began the slow pulling of the rug out from under Tener as the NL President. The New York Sun reports most of the National League owners are behind Tener, but…stay tuned, folks. There are more developments to come.

Elsewhere, the Toledo News-Bee reports that the local nine is trying out a new idea today, the day-night doubleheader. Two games for the price of two!

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 17, 2018 at 09:59 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, July 16, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-16-2018

Washington Herald, July 16, 1918:

Bill Phelon, the Cincinnati scribe, breaks out with the following on the situation [with the Reds]:

“The loyal fans of this town have stood about all they can. The work in the last month has capped the climax and the slogan heard among the boys is ‘never again.’ The attendance has dropped to such proportions that it takes a man with a powerful magnifying glass to see the crowd. The fans have quit Cincinnati.
[The Reds system] gets the hits, but no runs. It leaves the bases crowded, game, after game. It develops nothing, amounts to nothing. Other clubs have fun with the Reds by using the bunt, the squeeze, and the double steal. The Reds fail to have fun with any of the other clubs.”

The article ends with a casual racial slur, so there’s that. Anyway, if the fans in Cincinnati don’t want to go to the ballpark, maybe the team can relocate to Montreal, which will reportedly host its first-ever exhibition game between big league teams later in July 1918.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 16, 2018 at 09:55 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, July 13, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-13-2018

Toledo News-Bee, July 13, 1918:


Walter Johnson is getting jealous of Babe Ruth. Inspired by the all-round skill of the Boston heaver, the Washington mound star went into center field on Friday and was a big factor in the win over Detroit. Johnson clouted a triple and a single and accounted for three of the Nationals’ five runs. He got a fourth himself.

Well, okay, so maybe he wasn’t exactly another Babe Ruth, but Johnson wasn’t shabby with a bat. He hit .246/.294/.369 (97 OPS+) in 1084 plate appearances from 1912-1918 and very occasionally spent time as a spare outfielder.

From what I can tell, what happened here is that regular center fielder Clyde Milan was injured, regular second baseman Ray Morgan was out with food poisoning, and backup infielder George McBride was old and awful*. Utilityguy Howie Shanks played second and Johnson spent a few days in center until Milan could return.

* - I feel bad saying that. McBride was a solid player who earned Chalmers Award votes four years in a row and put up 21 career WAR. It’s just that in 1918, he was 37 years old and hit .132/.132/.132 (-20 OPS+) in 18 games.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 13, 2018 at 10:18 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-12-2018

Toledo News-Bee, July 12, 1918:

Some of the shipyard ball players are playing so poorly that they may have to be sent back to the Athletics for more seasoning.


Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 12, 2018 at 11:33 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-11-2018

New York Evening World, July 11, 1918:

Neither President John K. Tener of the National League nor Garry Herrmann, Chairman of the National Baseball Commission, to-day would discuss further the acute baseball situation brought about by President Tener’s statement that he was through with the National Commission unless its decision in the Scott Perry case [awarding Perry to the Boston Braves instead of the Philadelphia Athletics] was enforced.
“There is nothing more to be said,” said President Tener. “I have stated my position after long and serious consideration, and it is now distinctly up to the other fellows.”

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, July 11, 1918:

Regarding the stand taken by President Tener of the National League not to act with the National Commission on any matter involving the American League, Connie Mack said that this would make no difference to baseball and that the game would go on just the same.

Washington Herald, July 11, 1918:

Connie Mack agitated the impending baseball war situation considerably by shoving Scott Perry out to the peak [in Philadelphia yesterday] to stop Detroit in the sixth game of the series with the Tigers, and he stopped them in highly effective fashion and won, 5 to 1.

Connie Mack gives zero Fs. I’ve mentioned this before, but the Perry imbroglio was a huge deal in 1918. His minor league club sold Perry on option to Boston, the Braves returned him, and then the minor league club turned around and sold Perry to Philadelphia. The National Commission sided with the Braves, but Mack took it to court and won an injunction.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 11, 2018 at 10:03 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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